Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change
Following the appeal against the verdict on Dusko Tadic, his defence team filed an appeal against his sentence of 20 years' imprisonment.
According to the Tadic's defence counsel, the court failed to take sufficient account of "the totality of the circumstances" surrounding Tadic's, namely "the climate", "the context of the conflict", and "the virulent propaganda". They also complained that Tadic's relative unimportance in the ethnic cleansing campaign in the Prijedor region had not been considered. And they suggested that the court could not hand down a 20-year sentence since under Yugoslav criminal code this sentence can only be given as an alternative to the death penalty.
Agreeing with the court's decision that "the punishment should fit the offender, not merely the crime", the defence believes that the judges have been inconsistent. According to the appeal, a number of important personal factors were not considered, including Tadic's previous good character and his constructive approach to life since his arrest. They also pointed out that Tadic faces a ruined future, both in Republika Srpska where he is considered a traitor and deserter, and, considering the publicity that has surrounded his trial, in other countries.
Finally, the defence suggested that the court had "erred in principle" in its assessment that the minimum period of imprisonment should be 10 years. It also criticised the court for not taking into account the time Tadic spent in custody in Germany.
Right after the sentence was handed down, Tadic's defence stressed that they were not interested in the severity of sentence but in the guilty verdict itself.
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